The etiology, imaging, and behavioral assessment of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) are daunting fields, given the lack of a cohesive neurobiological explanation for the observed cognitive deficits seen following mTBI. Although subjective patient self-report is the leading method of diagnosing mTBI, current scientific evidence suggests that quantitative measures of predictive timing, such as visual tracking, could be a useful adjunct to guide the assessment of attention and to screen for advanced brain imaging. Magnetic resonance diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) has demonstrated that mTBI is associated with widespread microstructural changes that include those in the frontal white matter tracts. Deficits observed during predictive visual tracking correlate with DTI findings that show lesions localized in neural pathways subserving the cognitive functions often disrupted in mTBI. Unifying the anatomical and behavioral approaches, the emerging evidence supports an explanation for mTBI that the observed cognitive impairments are a result of predictive timing deficits caused by shearing injuries in the frontal white matter tracts.
© 2010 Association for Research in Nervous and Mental Disease.